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It’s important that your
thoroughly washed before storing
it for the winter.
Be sure to wash the underbody,
particularly from the wheel wells
to remove any traces of road
salt, mud and road debris.
Dirt holds moisture, and the
combination of moisture and air
causes iron and steel to rust.
Be careful if you use a high power
pressure sprayer on the underbody
Water pressure from the sprayer
wand can force soap and water
through lubrication seals.
These seals are designed to hold
lubricant and are not able to
withstand high pressure spray.
absolutely vital that your car
is completely dry before it goes
into storage, as any moisture could
cause rust when it’s left to
stand over the winter.
And be sure to protect and
polish the chrome as well.
And protect the rubber areas of
the car so they don’t crack
in the cold weather.
Once the car has air-dried, give it
a good wax to protect your
Make sure to store your classic
car in a locked garage.
And make sure the space is clean,
dry and damp-free before storing
your car, as any moisture could
cause corrosion or mold.
Lay tarp on the floor of your garage
under your car.
Concrete will wick moisture up
and evaporate it under your car,
causing rust to form.
Put down 2 layers of the big blue
tarps that you can buy at Menard's
or any home improvement store.
Or place a sheet of vapor barrier
plastic under the car on the
This also will prevent water vapor
buildup in an unheated garage,
and also makes it very easy to
spot fluid leaks when the car
is removed from storage.
Classic cars should be stored in
a garage away from direct
If possible, keep the car under
a car cover.
You can cover it with a breathable
water-resistant custom-fitted cover
or just a sheet.
A waterproof tarp or plastic cover
would trap moisture and create
a perfect environment for rust.
This will provide the car protection
from dust and dirt.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on
the windshield under the wiper
blades, to prevent the rubber
from sticking to the glass.
If your car will be exposed to
freezing temperatures, make sure
that no personal items that may
freeze or burst are left in
Lubricate all the spots that require
grease, like suspension components
wheel bearings, and hinges.
the steering components
Lubricate the hood release latch,
hood and door hinges to protect
them from moisture.
Keep oil and solvents off
all rubber parts.
Spray grease on all linkages,
cable levers and clevis pins on
the underbody of the car.
Apply silicone spray to door
and window seals to keep them
To prevent rust, spray the
whole underbody with WD-40,
it will repel moisture.
Remove the spark plugs and spray
a small amount of oil into the
cylinders to prevent rusting,
then insert the plugs again.
"Fogging oil" for storing boats,
and will also work.
Use of a spark plug anti-seize
lubricant on the threads is always
advisable, as to prevent the threads
It will make disassembly easier,
when it's time to change
the spark plugs.
Body Exterior and Chassis:
Look for scratches, rust spots,
chrome plating, brass and or
Look at the paint in general, on
the body, fenders and wheels.
Winter is a good time to make
Clean and polish the body and
Remove the dead bugs and other
residue like mud and tar globs.
Grease all the fittings just to be sure
they will accept grease.
Over inflate your tires them
about 2-5 PSI to compensate
for air loss.
Don’t exceed the tire’s maximum
air pressure, which is listed
on the side of the tire.
The tires should always be cleaned
to remove dirt and brake dust
before winter car storage.
Tire experts say all tires will
flat spot, even slightly, if parked
for an extended time period.
Even a small flat spot is
annoying when driving a
In order to avoid this issue,
raise the vehicle off the ground
and support it on jack stands.
This will take the pressure off the
tires and the suspension
- Safety First!
Consult your owner's manual to
find the proper locations for the
stands, this will prevent possible
injury, since the car can fall off
the stands if not placed properly.
Jackstands will eventually sink
into dirt floors, use plywood
squares under them.
Check the convertible top material,
soft top, snaps, fastenings and
Clean it thoroughly.
Get out those crumbs, spilled french
fries, and just plain dust and dirt.
Use a vacuum cleaner.
Don’t forget about mice and other animals
like moths or ants who may have
made a home in your car.
Look everything over carefully.
Check door panels, window regulator
handles, dashboard (all the gauges
working), steering wheel, controls,
choke, spark, throttle, floor mats,
Be sure to check interior fabric or
leather and clean and protect
it with a silicone conditioner.
Make sure that it’s clean.
Batteries can discharge due to
moisture and dust across the top
between the terminals.
Clean the terminals and posts,
replace and tighten them, then
coat them lightly with Vaseline.
Don’t coat the posts or the terminals
before you re-assemble them, as
that can cause a poor connection
which will result in a voltage drop
which causes poor starting and
Always use eye protection when
working on a battery.
If you remove it, clean off the
terminals with water and baking
soda, then rinse with distilled
Unhook the battery by removing
the negative cable first and store it
There’s no way your battery will
stay charged over the winter
here in the Midwest.
If a car battery loses its charge
it may freeze, at which point
it becomes useless.
The battery should be stored
is to hook your car
battery up to a trickle charger or
Ensure the model you purchase has
an auto shut-off feature to
Change the oil
Older oil can contain contaminates
that are acidic and can harm
internal engine components if
the engine for a few minutes
to circulate the clean oil.
Top up all other fluids, such as
coolant and brake fluid.
Use the proper mixture of coolant.
As brake fluid attracts moisture,
fill the brake reservoir with
the correct type of fluid.
The smaller the surface exposed,
the less likely the fluid will
Be sure to test your anti-freeze
It’s a good idea to use some antifreeze,
even in warm climates.
Most recommend a 50/50 mix
To be safe, you should check
the coolant’s strength to ensure
the water concentration level
isn’t too high.
If it is, this can cause the car’s
cylinder heads or engine block
At this time, it will never be easier
to check and replace any hoses
Be sure to check your fan belts.
If your water pump has a grease
fitting, grease it with water pump
grease, not regular chassis lube.
Clean all the bugs and other
stuff from your radiator.
Fill the tank with premium grade
that contains no ethanol.
Ethanol is notorious for damaging
gaskets and rubber parts in
The tank should be full to
limit moisture buildup.
To ensure that your engine components
don't get damaged or clogged by
gas deterioration, add a fuel
add the recommended amount
of fuel stabilizer and let it mix
thoroughly with the gas by running
the car for approximately
10-15 minutes to move the mixture
into the carburetor, fuel rails,
The fuller the tank, the less room
there will be for air, which carries
moisture that can lead to fuel
contamination and possibly
rust within the tank.
For Long Term Storage:
gas tank for long-term
storage and make sure the
car is stored in a dry environment.
If gas has been in the tank for
a year or longer, always dump it.
Also for long term storage,
it is recommended that you
pour a small amount of engine
oil or transmission fluid down
the carburetor to fully lubricate
the valve train.
This will go a long way to preventing
sticking valves when the
engine is started.
Condensation can ruin the
interior of a car.
Place a few open boxes of Baking
Soda in your car an trunk to absorb
both moisture and odors.
Baking Soda is also safe be
used with the other products.
Leave a couple windows open
slightly ajar to let fresh air circulate,
but not open enough for a
critter to get in.
Fresh air is also important to
help prevent mold.
Put steel wool or aluminum
foil in the tailpipe tip,
the air intake at the air cleaner and
any other external area an animal or
critter could use to gain entrance.
Put a plastic bag
over the air
cleaner/air inlet and tailpipe.
You also can cover these with
aluminum foil and tape securely.
Tie brightly colored surveyors tape
to the steel wool and fabric sheets
as a reminder to remove them
before restarting your car.
Use the fabric softener sheets
around the exterior, placing
them on top of the tires and
around the engine compartment.
Put fabric softener sheets on
the floor boards and under the
seats, on the dashboard and
under the rear window.
These sheets help repel the critters,
and keep the interior smelling
the car, but never put them
in your car.
The last thing you want to find
is a dead mouse on your seat.
If you are storing your car
your own house garage, remember
that pest poison traps,
mouse traps especially the
glue traps can be hazardous
to your pets.
Make sure you keep your
pets away from them!
Or you can place packets of
mothballs on the floor around and
under the car to discourage
Place a note to yourself on the
steering wheel outlining which
steps above you carried out
(steel wool, aluminum foil in
the tailpipe, in the intake, carpets
removed, battery removed, etc).
Bringing your Car
Out of Storage -
Once you uncover your car,
inspect it for any signs of
or critter damage.
Check for proper inflation and
unusual wear patterns, as well
an cuts and tears.
Fill all four tires to the
correct air pressure when you
take your car out of storage.
Remove the baking soda boxes.
If you forget them, they may
spill during driving.
Remove plastic bag, aluminum
and steel wool from over air
cleaner/air inlet and tailpipe.
The first thing to do is look underneath
This will tell you if you have any leaking
problems, such as a hose, a seal, the
radiator or a blown gasket.
If the car has been sitting in the garage
for years, you should drain all fluids
and flush all systems before replacing
However, if the car has just been sitting
in your garage over the Winter months,
this isn’t normally necessary.
Instead, do an oil and filter change.
Flush the fuel lines, drain and flush the
radiator and check levels of all
Checking the Battery:
A car that is being stored should
have its battery disconnected and
shelved to protect it.
your battery terminals
are clean and shiny, clean
with a wire brush, charge it up, and
the battery for a
good 24 hours.
When returning the battery
to the car, attach the positive
you Start your Car:
If your car hasn’t been started for
over the Winter months, you should
take off the spark plugs and lubricate
If you haven’t removed your spark plugs
before, label the plug wires as you
remove them, because they fire
in specific order.
Be careful when you pull the wires,
making sure that you grasp them as
close to the engine as possible.
Once your spark plugs are removed,
turn your ignition key a few times,
this will enable the lubricant to lubricate
the walls of the cylinders.
Keep running the engine until your oil
pressure shows as normal.
Then replace the spark plugs correctly.
Take off the engine’s air filter cover, and
then spray engine starter fluid through
the carburetor mouth.
This will give you a good chance
to start your engine, so now
it’s time to give it a go.
Before you drive out of the Garage:
When your car starts, just let
the engine idle and slowly
Don’t rev up the engine.
While it’s running, put the air filter
cover back on, and check for leaks
and the level of transmission fluid.
Now shut the engine off, and go back
under the hood to check for any hoses
or belts that need tightening.
Replace if you see cracks or rot
Also, lubricate the
Before you drive off, make sure you have
checked the brakes thoroughly.
Rotors, drums and friction linings should
all be inspected, and check wheel
cylinders for corrosion.
While driving for the first
being in storage, watch your voltage
and oil and coolant temperatures
and take care when braking as rust
may have built up on the drums and
rotors which will add to your braking
Don't forget to change the oil and
filter before you drive off, or take
your car to your favorite shop and
get an oil change as soon as you take
it out of storage, even if you did it
before you put your car in storage.
With all these things
taken care of, you
should now be ready to enjoy your
These tips are merely a recommendation
to help save you time and
Check with your mechanic for
professional advice or service.